Cooking Diary – log 3 – 04/05/2012
Firstly, today is my happy, very happy day. 🙂
I finished my last course final exam of my bachelor-degree student life with confidence. I had been studying hard for the past 2 days. Blogging and Facebook-ing were highly self-prohibited. No distractions were allowed. 100% focus and effort were on reviewing course book (not a very light one) and lecture notes.
I made a secret promise to God the evening before yesterday “Please God, I will be reviewing for this exam without any contact with my blog or FB, not even once for the whole day. If I manage to do that, please give me confidence and knowledge in the exam.” I have been well behaved. That should be why God granted my wish and make to day a very beautiful day to remember.
After finishing the exam, my friends (let call them Lovely, Long-legs and Hidden Beauty) and I walked to the supermarket to buy food for dinner. We had really nice girly chitchats and jokes. After this, Lovely will be in Egypt for her internship, Long-legs interns in North Vietnam, and Hidden Beauty may come back to Vietnam for infinity in South Vietnam after her will-happen-very-soon graduation this June. This may be the last time we ever gather like this and have such great time. 🙂 It’s gonna be so sad not having them around, but people come and go as they should, only memories stay in my heart.
And who knows, if our fates ever cross again. (Not to mention Facebook, God bless.)
Then we came home. Lovely and Long-legs went to my place to have dinner together, such spontaneous ideas happen quite frequently. We prepared some light Vietnamese food for dinner. Well, actually, I did not do anything much, except for the Vietnamese style roasted eggplant (which is rather quick and easy), and some Swiss Roll for dessert. Long-legs were tonight executive chef, Lovely were sous chef, and I just goofed around, taking photos, laughing on how Lovely and I changed our jobs today, and having a good time.
So, I have nothing much to show you today, just a rather quick and easy recipe, suitable for serving as an Asian fusion salad or with cooked rice and how we had fun. 🙂 I learn this dish from Hidden Beauty, btw. 😉
Ingredients (serving 4, with white rice)
- 1 large eggplant, washed
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- Chopped green part from 2 scallions (only green part needed for this recipe, but keep the white for other use, because they are the most aromatic part of the scallions)
- Fish sauce mix
- 2 tbsp. Fish sauce + ½ tbsp. water
- 1 ½ tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. sweet sour chili sauce (optional, can be replaced by 1 tsp. of lime juice and ¼ finely chopped chili. But beware, its hotness and spiciness depends on different kinds of chili you use, so use with caution.)
Step 1: Prepare a hot, fill half with water baking pan on the bottom of your oven. Place your rack on the next lowest level. Put the eggplant with skin on the rack, like mine. Turn the oven to 300 degree Celsius (or yours’ highest temperature). Leave the eggplant in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes; check at 30 minutes and then at 5-minute-regular level.
Don’t worry; it won’t get burn because of the water pan at the bottom of the oven. It creates enough steam to keep the temperature stable and even everywhere the whole oven, rather than focusing on burning the top of our precious eggplant.
In Vietnam, we usually make this eggplant dish in BBQ style, meaning roasting eggplant on rack heated by burning coals underneath (open fire). This style will bring out the most flavor of the eggplant, in addition to giving them a smoky edge to bring them to the next level of wonderfulness. If you have the chance, try it.
Step 2: while your eggplant are being roasted in the oven. Let’s make soft boiled eggs. I used to have lots of problems with boiling eggs; can you believe it? But now, I have learned to boil eggs to exactly how I want them to be, by using a timer. 🙂
To use my method, first put medium-size eggs in cool-water-filled pot, heat them up until they start to boil. Then start counting. (Remember; only count when the water starts to boil) The fun starts now! If you want soft-boiled eggs (the white cooked, but the york is just heated to warm, not cooked), count for 5 minutes. Then take them out of the heat immediately, submerge them into ice-cold water for 2 more minutes to prevent any further cooking. If you want medium-boiled eggs (the white cooked, outer part of the york is cooked, but the center remained runny), count 7 minutes. Then use the ice water to quickly cool them down. If you want firm-boiled (both white and york are fully cooked through) eggs count 12 minutes. Then again, the ice water rapid cooling method is used.
Remember, my method is for standard for medium size commercial eggs, regularly sold in supermarket. If using different sizes of eggs, kindly adjust accordingly.
Step 3: is the making of the fish sauce mix. It is super duper easy. Just mix all of the ingredients listed above into a bowl, stir well until all dissolved. Pour it into the halved boiled eggs. Like this. Leave them there to help the egg absorb the savor of the fish sauce mix. Also, the runny york will enrich the fish sauce. Uhhm, nom nom.
Step 4: Put the chopped scallion into a heatproof glass bowl or a baking ramekin. Prepare the scallion infused oil by heating 2 tbsp. of canola oil in a pan until very hot, pour it into the chopped scallion bowl. Leave until further use.
Step 5: By now, your eggplant should be ready. Check the readiness of your eggplant by its softness. The eggplant is ready when it is very soft, the size of the eggplant also decreases by very visible amount, and the skin is wrinkled up. Like in this picture. Take it out of the oven. Leave it on a plate and let cool down a bit until able to touch.
Step 6: Now your eggplant is still warm but easy to the touch. Rip the skin all out and discard. Like Lovely demonstrated in this picture. If your eggplant skin do not come out very easily, put it back in the heated oven and roast for another 5 minutes.
Step 7: Tear up the eggplant into thin strips. Then cut the strips vertically into bite size. Like this.
Step 8: Spoon oil-scallion mix onto the prepared eggplant. Pour the egg – fish sauces mix all over.
Enjoy! 😉 (practicing my food photographing skill)
Together with this dish, we also make Vietnamese style summer rolls with damped Vietnamese rice paper, cucumber, tomato, boiled pork, fried eggs, and iceberg salad, serve together with Vietnamese fish sauce. It was too good to be true. Come back to it later.
Also, we have braised chicken thigh meat with honey and orange juice. Sweet, sour, aromatic and savory at the same time. Also, come back later for more. A photo speaks for itself. 😉
We were too full to fit in any dessert after that. My poor yummy Swiss Rolls became the punishment for our card games. A demonstration on my spongy Swiss Rolls is coming too.
We first played a Vietnamese card game, as eating my rolls and drinking water as punishment. How enjoyable that was! Then we switched to Uno. This game has always been vicious and merciless. Therefore, after playing, we were all so, so full!
We had a great time, we did. We always have, and hopefully, always will.
Today dinner is to give Lovely a proper farewell and good luck for a new part of her life. 🙂 My fingers are crossing for you, Lovely. I know in my mind that you are a very strong, talented and lively girl that can and will achieve anything you wish for. And in my heart, I always know that you are one the greatest friends I will ever have.
I do not feel the need to give many recommendations for you, since your have always been a very independent and dependable girl. I have just some words, as usual when you are on your way on an adventure: Stay alive, live well, have fun, and be safe.
For those who left or are leaving my life, I am grateful that we met.
“A part of you has grown in me.
And so you see,
It’s you and me together forever and never apart,
Maybe in distance,
But never in heart.”